The annual Soundsplash music festival is returning to Raglan this summer, following a foray into the central Waikato.
Now one of New Zealand’s longest-running festivals, Soundsplash is a boutique, multi-genre event held over three days that has attracted some high-profile bands, DJs and musicians in recent years – and this one will be no exception.
Boasting headline acts including Ocean Alley, My Baby, Hot Dub Time Machine, Luude, Macky Gee and Jordan Rakei, the festival will be back in its usual venue in the Wainui Reserve, near Raglan, from January 20 to 22, after what proved to be a temporary relocation to Mystery Creek earlier this year.
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That event, in January this year, created headlines after concerns were raised it could be a “super spreader” for the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
While Omicron remains prevalent throughout the country, the non-lethal nature of the variant and the dropping of the Government’s restrictions to stem the spread of the virus means summertime music festivals like Soundsplash, Homegrown, Laneway, Rhythm & Vines, Womad and Splore are all going ahead.
Soundsplash’s point of difference – as well as its location overlooking popular surf spot Ngarunui Beach, where hundreds of tents can be pitched and campervans parked – is its laid-back, environmentally friendly ethos.
Thousand of people enjoy summer vibes at Soundsplash in Waikato.
Originally running from 2001 to 2008, Soundsplash was voted “Festival Of Choice for 2005/06” by Rip It Up Magazine and is credited with beginning the zero-waste movement for New Zealand festivals with its progressive eco-focus. It returned, following a hiatus, in 2015.
Australian surf-psychedelia band Ocean Alley have a big following on this side of the Tasman Sea, partially due to their status as the first big-name international band to play in New Zealand following the lifting of Covid restrictions, with a sold-out show at Auckland’s Spark Arena in May.
The group, formed in 2011, have released four albums and two EPs worth of cruisy, reggae-infused music that also evidently resonates well with New Zealand listeners.
Amsterdam-based Dutch-NZ trio My Baby are comprised of Daniel ‘Da Freez’ Johnson (guitar); Joost Sheik van Dijck (drums / vocals); and Cato van Dijck (lead singer and guitar), who have been performing their “psychedelic blues-trance rave” together since 2012.
Hot Dub Time Machine is Australian DJ Tom Lowndes, aka Tom Loud, who is touted as “the world’s first time-travelling DJ”. This may because of his technique of playing a mix of popular music in chronological order, starting from the 1950s or 1970s, and going through to the present, accompanied by a visually-striking light show.
Luude, known to his parents as Christian Benson, is another Australian dance music producer, who is best known for a 2021 remix of Men At Work’s hit Down Under. Luude’s drum and bass version, which featured freshly-recorded vocals from Men At Work’s Colin Hay, spent four weeks in the number one spot on the New Zealand singles chart – twice as long as the song did when it was originally released in 1980.
Tokoroa-born, Australian-raised singer-songwriter Jordan Rakei is now based in London and has produced four albums worth of critically-acclaimed, introspective-yet-bouyant soul-funk music. His 2017 album Wallflower was nominated for the Australian Music Prize, he has played the Glastonbury music festival, and his work with top-selling electronica duo Disclosure earned a Grammy award.
Hailing from Medway, in Kent, UK, producer Macky Gee has been at the forefront of the recent drum and bass revival. According to his publicity material, he is now “one of the most promising and spectacular artists” in the genre.
“From weekly radio shows to playing gigs around the UK and Europe, Macky wanted to carry on building on this creative vibe and soon found himself going to college to study music production, learning his craft and honing his studio skills to give him both the desired confidence and knowledge to push forward making his own original tracks which would eventually change the sound of drum and bass.”
The full line-up and the means to purchase tickets to the festival, including camping spots, can be found at soundsplash.co.nz.
Festival organisers have been approached for comment.
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